Okay, lets face it. Traveling can be scary, nerve-wracking, or just down right stressful. The first time I went to Europe I was so worried I would lose my passport and be stuck in a foreign country. This was especially worrisome for me because… 1. I was traveling alone and 2. I tend to lose everything. And I seriously mean everything. But after a lot of trial and error ( and lot of stress chocolate) I have learned how to successfully travel to Europe without all the stress and worry. Hopefully reading this article will help equip you with the skills and knowledge needed to navigate a trip to Europe. So lets get started!
- Get some Cash Out! Before traveling I recommend going to your local bank at home to obtain the currency of the country you are going to. Make sure you plan ahead when doing this because sometimes the bank with need a couple of days to mail in your needed amount of currency. It is important to have some cash on hand when you arrive. You can use this to pay for a taxi or whatever transportation service you are using to get to your accommodation. There are usually ATM’s or Cash Exchange Services at the airport but they often times charge huge amounts to exchange your currency. Avoid the huge fees by coming prepared with cash already in hand. Also, make sure to hide some cash is a secret place. Pick-pockets are very bad in Europe and you will need to have some cash handy if your wallet is stolen.
- Buy credit card and Passport sleeve protectors! As mentioned before pick-pockets are bad in Europe. However with advances in technology comes advances in preventing pick-pocketers. To prevent people from scanning your credit card or passport information as they walk by you can purchase sleeve covers. I have one for all of my credit cards and one for my passport. I bought mine on amazon:)
- Outlet Converters– Make sure you have a power outlet converter that meets the standards of the country you are traveling to. This is extremely important because without it you will not be able to charge your phones, laptops, ipads (you get the picture). It is also super important for other electronic products such as hair curlers or straighteners. There are several different options and you can usually find these a stores such as Walmart or Target.
Flying in Europe
- Liquid containers for carry-on Bags. There are many important things to know when flying in Europe. First, they have a very strict liquids allotment for carry on bags! You are only allowed to have a quart-sized bag of liquids in your carry on. They will throw away anything that doesn’t fit in the quart sized bag (I have seen this happen and they do not care if it is expensive products). Another thing I was surprised about is what they consider a liquid. Lip gloss, foundation and even chap stick are all considered a liquid. I had my bag pulled aside and checked because I didn’t have my chap stick and lip stick with my liquids. Luckily I had enough room in my bag to fit these products but I have seen other fliers who had to throw away some of their belongings. This is very sad and don’t let it happen to you!
Arriving in Europe
- You have to pay for most public restrooms. This was a very foreign concept for me being from the United states where public restrooms are free. This is not the case in Europe. Most bathrooms, including those in train stations and bus stations require money to enter. Also, many of these money machines only except exact change. I always try to keep 2 -3 Euros in coin change when traveling.
2. Pick Pockets! Pick pockets are prevalent in most major cities in Europe. Some tips to avoid getting your belongings stolen are as follows: If wearing a backpack in heavily congested tourist areas switch it around so that it is facing forward. This might look funny but it helps you keep an eye on your things and helps prevent pickpockets from slashing the bag open with a knife. This has happened to several of my friends, don’t let it happen to you! You can purchase clothing with hidden pockets. I have a scarf that has a hidden zipper pocket. Another tactic is to wear purses across you body instead of just hanging on your shoulder. The best thing is to always be aware of your surroundings!
I hope these tips will help you be prepared to travel overseas. I will have more articles coming with more tips and tricks. Stay safe and happy travels!